How Corporate C-Levels Can Serve as the Guardians of Ethical Artificial Intelligence

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With all the hype surrounding artificial intelligence and what it is capable of, we have officially entered the era of artificial intelligence. While many argue that we have not yet reached the full potential of AI, I believe that we have come a long way and can now see AI in widespread use.

With AI now pervasive in organizational processes, the ethical use of AI has become a point of contention. Is artificial intelligence being used responsibly and ethically by organizations worldwide?

The ethical application of AI will set the tone for future AI use and consideration. Establishing the most ethical AI practices has become critical in recent years, as organizations have recognized the stakes. The risks associated with irresponsibly using AI include damage to a brand’s reputation and the resulting legal complications. As a result, ethical AI use not only protects your reputation, but also keeps you on the right side of the law.

According to Gartner research, nearly 75% of all significant organizations worldwide will hire AI experts to manage brand and reputation risk by 2023. This will be done to ensure that they are always operating within the bounds of the law when it comes to AI usage.

Chief technology officers (CTOs) and chief executive officers (CEOs) will be critical in determining how an organization uses its artificial intelligence campaign. One litmus test CEOs can use to determine the ethics of their AI use is to determine whether they would feel comfortable if their use of AI was made public.

Causes and Drivers of Irresponsible AI Usage 

The trend of AI failure is not new to the world. Numerous examples exist of when AI mechanisms have failed humans and failed to produce the desired results.

Amazon recently discovered that the AI system they used for recruitment had an inherent bias against all female candidates. The system worked similarly to Amazon’s star rating system, awarding candidates points out of five. Candidates with the highest star ratings were considered for employment opportunities within the company. However, those familiar with the system discovered that it was biased against all female candidates.

In 2018, traffic police in major Chinese cities committed a massive blunder by utilizing AI to track jaywalkers. The police embarrassed themselves as part of their tracking campaign by mistaking the face of Chinese billionaire Dong Mingzhu for that of a jaywalker. The face was discovered on a bus that was decorated with a poster of Dong as part of a marketing campaign. The city’s traffic police department was mocked online for making such a monumental error.

Credit scoring, inaccurate medical diagnoses, recruitment, and judicial sentencing are just a few areas where AI-related biases are evident. AI biases can obstruct the fair conduct of certain business processes, resulting in significant legal consequences down the road.

C-suite executives must take note of this failure and update their processes to mitigate AI bias. They should make every effort to avoid falling into the same trap with their AI processes in the future. The technology and intelligence underlying AI should be used to improve the world, not to perpetuate prejudice or discrimination of any kind.

AI biases are frequently the result of poor data management or human resource management. In the long run, a lack of diversity in hiring and assembling your AI team can come back to haunt you. Additionally, any errors made during the data collection or training processes can have a negative impact on the implementation of AI.

Consequences of AI Misuse 

Misuse of artificial intelligence has a number of potential consequences. For beginners, any misuse of artificial intelligence can result in privacy violations, including the jeopardization of consumer data. Businesses and organizations that work with customer data must exercise extreme caution when handling the data, as any mishap can have a long-term negative impact on their reputation.

Other mishaps include: 

Loss of Trust 

A business’s reputation is its most valuable asset, second only to its cash on hand. Numerous businesses view goodwill as an asset that they leverage in order to sell their products and/or services. However, this reputation can be harmed by an AI error. The majority of customers are aware of the latest business developments, and they are quick to abandon organizations that are discovered to be involved in AI scams, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

Negative Impact on Revenue Streams 

What are the consequences of a loss of trust or reputation? A decrease in the volume of your revenue streams. Customers may avoid brands that have demonstrated disinterest in their AI systems. The recent wave of data scams on social media and within organizations demonstrates that customers understand the value of their data and do not take such scams lightly. As a result, if your AI system contains a bias or an irregularity, customers will immediately notice and take evasive action, if necessary.

Legal Implications 

As briefly mentioned previously, misuse of artificial intelligence can also result in legal ramifications. With regulations such as the GDPR in place, businesses must exercise extreme caution in their use of artificial intelligence. Any loss or misuse of customer data may also land them in legal hot water. Your compliance or legal framework should be aware of and guide you in compliance with AI and data regulations.

Setting Up an Ethical Framework

The entire C-suite should be involved in the process of developing an ethical framework, including stakeholders and managers. It is critical that you incorporate ethics into your AI strategy and view the two as synonymous. Your ethical AI strategies should prioritize team diversity, a skilled workforce, and data transparency. You should easily be able to inform the public about your organization’s use of AI.

Second, all training models must be tested prior to implementation to identify any potential biases. Your training models should be validated and regulated prior to being widely implemented throughout the organization to ensure that biases are minimized and irregularities are minimized.

Governance of data and AI can significantly aid in setting the tone for your AI campaign by ensuring proper data collection and storage. Your data will be ideal for working with.

Finally, risk management should be a priority in the form of compliance. Recent regulatory changes in this area have necessitated that the greater legal threat be dealt with as effectively as possible. The entire organization, not just the IT department, should be accountable for the compliance process. Ascertain customer consent prior to acquiring data from them. Infuse appropriate AI usage with your company’s values to create a strong bond between the two.


C-level executives must seize control of their organizations’ fair AI usage. C-level executives must act as guardians of ethical AI use and set the tone for ethical AI use throughout the organization.

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